Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get you to the show.
There’s such a rich and varied of menu on offer that this entry covers music that happens in Asheville within a mere five-day space. Art-folk-Americana, shock-and-awe metal, a classic rock tribute and one of the country’s most underrated guitarists: once again, Asheville’s got it all.
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Friday, Dec. 5, 9 p.m.
Door: $8 advance / $10 day of show
It never hurts to have a compelling back story for your band, but nobody would wish for the travails faced by Bombadil. In 2009, the band’s Daniel Michalak was stricken with neural tension, a debilitating condition that rendered him unable to play guitar (or do much else). That setback blunted the potential of the Durham group’s very promising album Tarpits and Canyonlands, and delayed the next album for a couple of years. Happily, Michalak has fought his way back to health (the band has released three discs since Tarpits). With a sound that combines chamber folk and art-pop into a heady mix, Bombadil will appeal to those who wish Fleet Foxes would warm up just a little. Sweet Claudette and Mother Explosives open.
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $23 day of show
Say what you will about GWAR: they pull no punches; they do nothing halfway. If you think Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson are “shock rock,” then the antics of this Richmond, Va.-based collective of artisans might be a bit too extreme for you. On one hand, the members of GWAR ooze evil and lubricity from every slimy pore; on the other hand, they’re funny as hell (which, it often seems, might be their true hometown). Either way, they’re truly like nothing else you’ve seen or heard. Since frontman Oderus Urungus passed away last year (heroin OD, if you’re wondering), the band has added a frontwoman who goes by the lovely monicker Vulvatron. Seeing as GWAR shows employ gallons of fake blood — there’s no truth to the rumor they tried to book the show at Lexington Avenue Brewing — I’ll be making an advance trip to Goodwill for some disposable attire. I recommend you do the same. Corrosion of Conformity and American Sharks open.
Artist: Déjà Vu: A Tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
Few bands in American pop music history have been wracked by as much internal discord as Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes) Young. That fact is rich with irony, since harmony is the group’s signature. The three-or-four made their mark on the pop culture landscape with their Woodstock performance — their second gig — and went on to become a major force in folk rock. The fractious four reunite occasionally, but each gathering is less likely than the one before it. Which brings us to perhaps the next best thing: a group of ace singers and players who get along with each other, coming together to celebrate and perform the music of CSN&Y. Athens-based group leader John Keane is a celebrated producer/engineer, and singer-guitarist Dodd Ferrelle is an underrated singer-songwriter whose tours occasionally take him through Asheville.
Artist: Tab Benoit
Venue: New Mountain
Date: Sunday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m.
Door: $17 advance / $20 day of show
People often label the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival as “swamp rock,” conjuring visions of being born on the bayou and such. But those guys — great as they were — came from Oakland, Calf. Now Tab Benoit, he’s the real deal. A bluesified Cajun electric guitarist, he can rock as hard as ZZ Top, but his tunes are ready-made for dancing. He brings the fretboard pyrotechnics, but this Baton Rouge-born axeman never forgets that the song’s the thing. And after you witness him live, you’re in for a treat: his recorded back catalog goes back 20-plus years, with nearly one album released each year.
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